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Hamburger Steaks

Hamburger steaks make simple food delicious. With a few basic and flavorful mix-ins, tender ground beef patties are bathed in a smooth savory gravy and it all comes together in just a few minutes. Add mashed potatoes and sautéd vegetables on the side and dinner is served.

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Is ground beef and hamburger steak the same thing?

Nope! The term “ground beef” refers to the meat that hamburger steaks are made out of. Ground beef turns into a hamburger steak when it is seasoned with salt and pepper and mixed with other ingredients such as eggs and breadcrumbs then formed into patties.

How do you make hamburger meat tender

Anytime you mix ingredients into ground beef, you could make it tough if you don’t take some basic steps first. Here’s what to know:

  • Une finely grond beef. The big long stringy stuff from the box stores can require more mixing to make the texture smooth. Too much mixing makes meat tough.
  • Don’t be afraid of fat. Choose ground beef with some fat content (ideally 80/20) to ensure juiciness and flavor.
  • Don’t overcook. Avoid overcooking the patties. This is a surefire way to dry them out. Cook just until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. No more. 
  • Don’t overwork the meat. When mixing together the ingredients for the patties and forming them. One way to avoid that is to mix all the add in ingredients together first then add those to the meat at once.  

Can you cook hamburger steak in the oven?

You can, but know they won’t brown properly. You can sear them first in a skillet then move them to the oven if you prefer to have a golden brown exterior.

Also keep in mind that you won’t have an easy way to collect the drippings that you’ll need to make the gravy and you’ll still have to do that part in a skillet. Might as well just dirty one pan and be done with it.

To bake the patties in the oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Once you’ve formed the patties, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake them for about 20-25 minutes. 

How to cook hamburger steak in an air fryer

Air-frying hamburger steaks is a good way to go but again, no gravy and hard to keep your drippings. The patties get nice and crispy on the outside while staying tender and juicy on the inside. 

To air fry: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Arrange the patties in the basket of the preheated air fryer (make sure they aren’t too close together!). Cook the hamburger steaks for 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through. 

How to form hamburger steak patties

Add all ingredients to the beef before mixing. Stirring between ingredients could make your patties tough.

  • Add one beaten egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and fresh bread crumbs if you have them. Dried crumbs will work as well.
  • Mix just until combined then form patties in any size you choose. I did 1/4 pound patties. Keep them about 1 1/2″ thick.

How to make gravy for hamburger steak

Hamburger steaks can handle some add ins to the gravy. If you would like to make this a mushroom gravy, add the mushrooms with the onions while the patties fry, otherwise this is a standard onion gravy.

  • Add thinly sliced white or Vidalia onions to the patties while they fry. Scoot those onions around and nestle them into the pan so they get in the beef drippings.
  • Remove the patties once cooked and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat for making the gravy. Take out the rest.
  • Add 2 tablespoons flour (gluten free or arrowroot works) and stir with the onions until no dry pockets remain; about 30 seconds.
  • Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Cook on low heat until the mixture thickens; 2 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of red wine if you feel the gravy needs a bit of a flavor “lift”.

Why is my hamburger steak tough?

No one wants a tough hamburger steak. Here are some of the top reasons this happens and how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. 

  • Overcooked. It’s possible that you overcooked your hamburger steaks. Be sure to cook just until the internal temperature of the patties reaches 160 degrees F. Note that the steak will continue to cook a bit even after you’ve removed it from the pan. 
  • Overworked. Handling the meat too much as you mix it with the other ingredients and then form it into patties is a one-way ticket to tough hamburger steak. Mix just until everything is incorporated and use a gentle touch when forming the patties. 
  • Overly lean beef. You really want to choose a ground beef that has some fat in it (80/20) . Super lean and grass fed beef will yield a tougher finished product.

Can hamburger steak be frozen? 

Absolutely. Cook the hamburger steaks and gravy and, once they have cooled, seal them in an airtight container. You can store the gravy and patties together or separately. In either case, you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

When you are ready to enjoy, allow the steaks to thaw in the refrigerator before arranging them in a baking dish with the gravy. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and reheat the hamburger steaks in the oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until heated through.  

What goes well with hamburger steak?

Elevate your hamburger steak recipe to nothing short of heavenly with one or two of these delicious, flavorful side dishes. 

Similar beef recipes

In a beef kind of mood? You’re in luck! Here are some of my other favorite beefy recipes to try and resources to read up on.

a skillet with cooked hamburger steaks

Easy Hamburger Steaks

Deliciously simple and fast hamburger steaks use everyday ingredients for a comforting meal.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Rachel Ballard


For the hamburger steaks

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs freshly chopped bread or dry crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon oil See note 1
  • 1 cup white onion thinly sliced

For the gravy


Make the hamburger steaks

  • Add the ground beef to a medium bowl.
  • Beat the egg in a small bowl and add to the beef followed by the worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper.
  • Add the bread crumbs then use your hands or a fork to gently bring everything into a cohesive mixture. Set the mixture aside while you heat your pan.
  • In a 10-inch or larger heavy skillet, add the oil and heat over medium 2 minutes. Form four patties approximately 1 1/2" thick and lay them in the pan 1 inch apart.
  • Let the patties cook on medium heat until the first side is browning well; about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the patties then add the sliced onions around them, nestling them into the drippings that have formed.
  • Cook on the second side until firm and cooked through. You can reduce the heat to medium low if needed, cook about 5 to 6 minutes more. You can check the internal temp on your patties if you want to. It should be 165.

Make the gravy

  • Take the patties out of the skillet and transfer them to a plate. Leave 2 tablespoons drippings in the pan with the onions and drain off any excess.
  • Place the pan over medium low heat and add the flour. Stir until no pockets of dry flour remain; about 1 minute.
  • Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Cook until the mixture bubbles and thickens; about 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and extra pepper if desired and a dash or red wine is nice here if you feel the gravy needs a bit of acid, but it's optional.
  • Transfer the patties back into the gravy and let everything bubble together for a minute. Serve warm.


Note 1: I use avocado oil but any flavorless oil is fine here. You could even use a bit of melted beef tallow. 
Note 2: For gluten free, use a 1:1 gluten free flour blend. For arrowroot starch use 2 tablespoons and add to the drippings; proceed with the recipe. 
Note 3: Pacific Foods and Kettle and Fire make good beef broths if you don’t have homemade. Avoid using bouillon cubes or powders. 


Serving: 1patty w/gravyCalories: 399kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 23gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 121mgSodium: 967mgPotassium: 449mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword hamburger and gravy, hamburger steak, poor man’s steak, salisbury steak

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.